The world is a continually evolving ball, with many things like technology, science, and parenting methods always changing as time progresses. Being in a woke generation with significant exposure to varying beliefs and cultures has brought about a thousand and one rules on the ideal way to groom your teenage kids, amongst many other parenting duties. But finding out what works for you and your children is key to getting it right.
That being said, these tips are tried and true ways to get started on becoming BFFs with your teenage kids.
- Privacy is key
Even as an adult, it is not unusual to desire your space, free from human interference and distractions, especially when it is vital for your mental health. In the same vein, the teen years are a delicate time of the early stages of self-realization and exploration, and privacy is essential. You should be available for your kids’ emotional, financial, mental, and physical well-being without suffocating them.
- Start small
Sometimes it’s difficult to start building a relationship with your grown-up children if you had no close bond with them when they were little. However, it is not entirely a situation of passing a cow through the eye of a needle.
In order not to overwhelm them or come off too strong, start small by never missing their football games, go to concerts together, try out makeup with them, go shopping together, take a trip, have exclusive movie dates with them, and whatnot.
Starting off with these little things that interest them will only prove your genuine desire to have a close bond.
- Show some trust
Your kids want to know you trust them, and your teenage children are not excluded. If your actions and words frequently communicate distrust, they will also be distant and not trust you. Trusting them gives them a sense of obligation and a healthy desire not to disappoint you.
- Make them responsible
Making your teens have a sense of responsibility will go a long way with bonding with them. It communicates your trust in their judgment and ability to navigate the things of life that children their age will usually handle – like babysitting your toddlers.
- Be the parent
Bonding with your children doesn’t equate to dropping your responsibilities as a parent. Legally and morally, you are responsible for your children until they turn adults by law and showing them in your actions that will not only present you as a trusted friend and confidant but as a reliable adult (as every parent should be).
Command respect from your teenage children as their parent (but not through condescending, frightening, and demeaning circumstances) and watch them naturally gravitate towards you when they need a mentor, teacher, provider, protector, or just a mum or a dad.
- Listen more
Having the patience to listen effectively without distractions will make you the go-to for sound counsel and just when those around you need a shoulder to cry on. This is the same for kids, especially teens. They cringe at judgments and will open up more to someone who listens and shows understanding.
While it is crucial you tell your children the truth at all times (even when it has to do with pointing out their errors and wrongdoings), your tone and manner of approach will determine how they will receive this truth. Start by listening without interrupting; speak back with a calm attitude, identify their errors in love, and immediately proffer solutions and advice for future events.
- Give room for mistakes
Mistakes breed lessons which after a while, become experiences that stick. Do not come down heavily on your teenage children for making mistakes so as not to push them away.
As much as possible, shield them from making costly mistakes that may adversely affect them in the long run, but allowing them to make their own choices on specific subject matters will help them learn about life better. When you give room for mistakes, you make it easier for them to trust you with their experiences and the lessons they learned – you become their safe haven, and isn’t that the wish of every parent?!
Pro Tip(s): find out your child’s love language and learn to speak it fluently if it is new to you. This is one of the secrets to any successful close relationship. Also, allow your teens the freedom to air their views, share their doubts, and without invalidating their thoughts and feelings
While parenting is not a one-shoe-size-fit-all-situation, there are parenting methods that many agree to work all the time irrespective of personality, background, and whatnot. These tips will guarantee you the closest parent-child bond there is.